Now that ABC has reached a stopping point with the sophomore year of Once Upon a Time, it's time to open the floor for some discussion. I'm going to format this post as a series of open-ended questions, as I find my best ideas come from conversation and not solitary reflection.
Question the First: What is Rumpelstiltskin's end game?
Yes, we've asked this question repeatedly, but that's because the Dark One's ultimate plan is always in doubt. If Rumpelstiltskin expected Emma to find the ink and defeat Cora, then why did he convince Regina to seal the portal? Was he hedging his bets? Was he attempting to clear the field of his magical rivals? Or is he just blowing smoke up Emma's butt by pretending to run an epic Xanatos Gambit?
Question the Second: What happened to Regina when she absorbed the energy of the seal? And while we're at it, do you buy Regina's supposed reformation?
Regarding the latter query, my answer is a qualified yes. Regina genuinely wants to live up to Henry's expectations. However, I think she will continue to struggle with her impulse to possess and dominate -- and on that score, magic will continue to tempt her.
Question the Third: Is the cast getting too large?
This is something that has worried me since the start of the new season. Now that we've added Hook, Mulan, and Aurora, things might be getting a bit unwieldy. Indeed, until the last few episodes, the plot seemed to lack movement and direction. What should the writers do to tame the wild beast that is this enormous ensemble?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!